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Morris joins the Dodo?

s&r 05 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Jan 09 - 07:40 AM
The Borchester Echo 05 Jan 09 - 07:46 AM
GUEST, topsie 05 Jan 09 - 08:10 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Jan 09 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Neovo 05 Jan 09 - 08:37 AM
breezy 05 Jan 09 - 08:50 AM
Folkiedave 05 Jan 09 - 08:59 AM
Dead Horse 05 Jan 09 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Philippa 05 Jan 09 - 09:45 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Jan 09 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Ed Worrall 05 Jan 09 - 09:49 AM
nickp 05 Jan 09 - 09:52 AM
GUEST, topsie 05 Jan 09 - 10:03 AM
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Les in Chorlton 05 Jan 09 - 10:45 AM
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GUEST 05 Jan 09 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Motley Muso - Lisa 05 Jan 09 - 11:13 AM
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Subject: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: s&r
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM

Just seen this. Quite disturbing.

'The Morris Ring, which represents 200 Morris troupes across Britain says the number of dancers is dwindling while their age is increasing.

Charlie Corcoran, Bagman of the Morris Ring, told the Daily Telegraph: "There's a distinct possibility that in 20 years' time there will be nobody left.

"It worries me a great deal. Young people are just too embarrassed to take part.

"This is a serious situation. The average age of Morris dancing sides is getting older and older. Once we've lost this part of our culture it will be almost impossible to revive it."

The Morris Ring is hoping a winter recruitment drive could attract some new younger members in time for the spring when most troupes perform the dances they have been practising.

Paul Reece, chairman of the Advisory Council of the Morris Ring, said: "There is still time for new blood to get ready for the Spring fertility offensive.

"But there is a serious danger that, in less than a few decades, Morris dancing will be confined to the history books."'

Stu


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 07:40 AM

It would be interesting to hear from the Morris Federation whether their affiliated sides are experiencing the same thing.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 07:46 AM

There was a short item a few minutes ago on R4 and I have alerted the Fed's secretary.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 08:10 AM

Are they really worried that Morris dancing is dying out, or just that the Morris Ring may not survive?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 08:20 AM

"the Spring fertility offensive"

Still hanging on to that discredited old idea and the "woman never did Morris" or have I missed something.

It's hard to see how, with so much stuff recorded in every conceivable format that anything currently known will be lost. As somebody or other pointed out, one of the biggest traditions in Morris is collapse and revival.

Now why can't I get these clogs on?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 08:37 AM

Admittedly not to everybody's taste but mixed teams with a "family orientation" are thriving and many have young members. Even teams where the dancers are of one gender but have mixed gender bands (some of them very good indeed) attract families and younger people.

The Ring can't have it both ways. I understand their new Squire has been persuaded to abandon his aim of allowing teams with female musicians to attend Ring meetings. What hope for the Ring to enter even the twentieth century and make things interesting for young people when they maintain such an attitude and the fun and camaraderie offered by non-ring sides is more attractive? And this is so disappointing after all the good work done by recent Ring Squires to bring the Morris world together.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: breezy
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 08:50 AM

who wants to drink, sing and

sex drugs and rock n roll

nah sounds boring

ban it and it'll make a come back, dont let the kids in

its for a descerning few only

who still have knees

it requires teamwork

its not for everyone

do not put it on the national curriculum

we did a course at college, 50 male students had a great time, knocking shit out of each other,got my revenge on the big fella who fouled me on the soccer field, I think I would get a red card earlyon if I returned.

teams should involve their audiences more by giving em bells , hankies and dragging em screaming into a formation, just like the generation game.

Some morris men do 'up their own' at times.

Great to see teams with a chillout approach

University teams should compete for a national trophy.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 08:59 AM

Third story down - Sheffield City Morris

We have had women musicians for years, danced with female sides etc etc.

Two young recruits (which we have) aint enough.

And I agree with Ruth - some dance teams and other forms of ritual dance are flourishing. Biggest turn out at Grenoside for years this year.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:15 AM

Personally, I don't care for The Ring's sexist attitude, BUT they are preserving the dance in an un-watered down tradition which is to be applauded.
I dont believe they will go under.
That sort of comment (that the tradition is dying out) has been spoken of since Elizabethan times :-)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:45 AM

similar article in the Daily Mail;
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1105426/Morris-dancing-extinct-young-people-embarrassed-part.html

Morris dancing could be 'extinct' within 20 years because young people are too embarrassed to take part, Morris dancers have warned.
The numbers of people participating in the traditional British folk dance are dwindling whilst the age of the dancers is increasing, according to the Morris Ring, an association representing over 200 Morris troupes across Britain.

It is warning that 'unless younger blood is recruited during the coming winter months, Morris dancing will soon become extinct'.
Charlie Corcoran, Bagman of the Morris Ring, said: 'There's a distinct possibility that in 20 years' time there will be nobody left.

'It worries me a great deal. Young people are just too embarrassed to take part.

'This is a serious situation. The average age of Morris dancing sides is getting older and older. Once we've lost this part of our culture it will be almost impossible to revive it.'
The Morris Ring is hoping a winter recruitment drive could attract some new younger members in time for the spring when most troupes perform the dances they have been practising.
Paul Reece, chairman of the Advisory Council of the Morris Ring, said: 'There is still time for new blood to get ready for the Spring fertility offensive.

'Such customs and activities were once a common sight around the country. Today they are carried out by an ever-dwindling stalwart band of enthusiasts who are determined to keep them alive.
'But there is a serious danger that, in less than a few decades, Morris dancing will be consigned to the history books.'


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:46 AM

"un-watered down tradition"

or a living tradition that has survived and evolved?

Cheers
L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Ed Worrall
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:49 AM

Got it in one Dead Horse, the one thing you see from source material is the complaint that youngsters don't want to take part (circa 1890's et al!). Well, Morris aint dead yet and wont be for some time to come, whatever your take on it.

As long as people enjoy doing it, it'll survive. The moment it becomes a strict re-enactment or 'heritage' show, it's days are numbered. However, I have full faith in the benign anarchy of the Morris world in all it's forms!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: nickp
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:52 AM

Got a reasonably long mention on the BBC One lunchtime news.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:03 AM

Messers Corcoran and Reece have obviously written their artcle, and either printed off several copies and sent them or emailed them to newspapers and newsrooms, so that almost identical 'news' items are coming out together.
Is there a shortage of other news today?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:06 AM

Why would young men want to join something in which they have little chance of meeting young like minded women... they might as well join the masons !
There are young morris dancers but they more often choose to join mixed sides.. Furthermore, the fantastic young men who do belong to ring sides will probably leave when they have girlfriends who are not welcome to share their weekends away.
Presumably the officers of the Morris Ring are more obsessed with the principle of tradition than the perpetuance of morris dancing as wonderful and enjoyable hobby...In my opinion, a load of old blokes hobbling around does nothing to enhance the tradition. Young people of either gender, with springs in their heels, does.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Cath
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:15 AM

I find this difficult to believe - we have so many teams turning out for the festival in Holmfirth that you can hardly move for them.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Compton
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:23 AM

I bet you Cath...that most of the sides at Holmfirth will be "Mixed" or Ladies....The pure form of "Men only" dancing is indeed on the demise...and has been for some ten or fifteen years!!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: jonm
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:28 AM

How quickly this thread can change from a genuine problem to Ring-bashing.

While there is a misogynist element in the Ring, there are many teams who welcome female musicians and hangers-on and many members of Ring clubs also perform with mixed/Fed outfits. That's me on two counts.

I've been dancing 30+ years and unfortunately I do find that I am still one of the youngest members at many events, apart from my lad, who now dances (higher and better than I do).

The source material is so well documented these days and there is plenty of visual evidence in the Ring archive and on YouTube so it will not die out, although I can see the morris becoming much more exclusive as older men give up.

Looking at the standard of some teams at recent events, I do feel that that might not be a bad idea!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: nickp
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM

The TV news article was tilted at getting Morris (danced by whoever/whatever) in the Olympic opening ceremony. The response apparently was that nothing has been ruled in or out yet.

Can of worms time... you'd have to include traditional clog dancing and then, as there's around 60 UK teams, how about Appalchian clogging too...

No, lets ignore that last comment, I jest!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:45 AM

"
While there is a misogynist element in the Ring"

No surely not.........

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:47 AM

I don't have anything agains the Ring, actually. As someone said, they preserve one very important aspect of the tradition and all power to their collective elbow. But it and the Morris Federation exist side by side, and I believe that the Fed has more affiliated sides these days (am I right?). To gain an accurate picture of the state of morris dancing, the Fed's statistics are really needed. I suspect a lot of younger members belong to Fed-associated sides, but maybe I'm wrong.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM

Wasn't the Malt Shovel in Dartford WHOLLY swamped with people of the morris, on New Year's day?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:13 AM

Yup, we had to start a new venue because the Green Man at Hodsoll Street gets so packed with dancers and spectators. Admittedly most of these are Federation sides
However Hartley's Boxing Day stands were jam packed with enthusiastic dancers and spectators and they are "Ring"... I wouldn't like to comment on the age or agility of the dancers as I might get into trouble with my old man who's one of them !


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Motley Muso - Lisa
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:13 AM

Sorry, I didn't mean to be anonymous


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:33 AM

There's going to be an interview with the Ring Bagman on Radio 4 sometime between 5.0 p.m. and 6 o'clock.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:43 AM

There are a lot of "Ring" sides who quite happily dance out with women's and mixed sides and some have female musicians. But these sides tend not to be particularly active in "Ring politics" (with one or two notable exceptions)or attend ring meetings etc so there do seem to be some mixed messages here.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: romany man
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM

the ring as said does preserve the old way and yes good on em but today things have to evolve as well, the motley dartford bash was well attended and of course many mixed sides turned up. as for young men not being able to meet young women at morris venues, perhaps some one is going about it all wrong, i know of loads of couples who met through morris dancing but they are all in the fed.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: banjoman
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM

My wife told me to reply to this one - she has been dancing Morris in a mixed side (NW Clog) for many years and I was a musician for the same side till they drowned my banjo out with a base drum. The point she is making is that women have danced morris for many many years and its about time the ring got their collective finger out and accepted that fact. Morris never was and never will be a men only thing. The tradition would never have survived without women taking on the dancing - especially in times of war - so lets have a bit of realism in the ring. Perhaps the "Ring" is aptly named as it just goes round and round and never changes. Tradition is a living thing and must evolve to survive.

ps. I agree with all that she who must be obeyed has told me to write


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:05 PM

So do I

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: LesB
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:13 PM

I feel that the approach to the press was perhaps a little ill conceived.
Instead of presenting a 'hands up' defeatist attitude & giving the press plenty of chance to dust off their pre conceptions of the Morris & give the news presenters a chance to have a patronising snigger, maybe they should have presented the press with images & a story about the younger, exciting & vigerous aspect of ritual dance that we have. Then go on to say that this is a good start, but if we don't want it to die out we need more youngsters involved.
Present the positive.
The positives being cotswold teams like Pesceason, White/Dog Rose, Moulton (2younger teams) & many others . The numerous Rapper sides & the work of Damien Barber & The Roadshow, & the crowd pleasers such as the good border sides.
Lets not give them chance to snigger, lets wipe the smiles off their faces.
Cheers
Les (creaking old sword dancer)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:22 PM

Well. As Morris Offspring's been taken on by Alan Bearman's supersonic agency and Jim Moray dances with Bristol Morris, I think it's in pretty damn good shape. I understand that the Ring's Bagman is due on R4 PM any minute. I shall listen with interest.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:41 PM

just started


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:47 PM

I thought that there are supposed to be more Morris dancers now than there has ever been? It certainly seemed like it last time I went to Straw Bear in Whittlesey.

These 'traditions are dying out' threads always seem to follow the same lines:

1. Tradition X is dying out!

2. Tradition X must attract more young people!

3. Tradition X must be changed in order to make it more acceptable to young people!

Trouble is, if you change it it's not Tradition X any more, is it?                                                                  

It seems to me that the long-term survival of a particular tradition is not, primarily, the responsibility of its current practioners. Their responsibility is to carry on the tradition for as long as possible. The responsibility for long term survival of the tradition falls on to the shoulders of the young people. If they fail to take up the tradition, for whatever reason, then it is, surely, their loss?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:08 PM

Tish, tish...Phillipa mentioned 'The Daily Mail'.... Um!! :0) LOL
How strange that the usual suspects haven't picked her up for it. ??? I expect it's all part of a 'Daily Mail Plot' to create panic amongst the English about a problem which isn't there at all.

'Course, what they need is to stop dressing up in straw hats, flowers and hankies and that's just the men, and get a little..er..funky. Bring in the pirates, sprinkle them with a bit of sexiness and swoonability factor..and who knows, maybe the young men will return to the ranks, chased in their by their Maidens Fair.

Alternatively, someone send for John Kirkpatrick and his gorgeous Shropshire Bedlamas *immmmmediately*!!

Yes, yes! They'll save the day! Heck, but they're a sexy bunch of lads if ever there was one...and they've not a hankie to be seen amongst 'em, just very big sticks, with which they do some very illuminating things.

Oooooh, Matron! ;0)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:12 PM

"The point she is making is that women have danced morris for many many years and its about time the ring got their collective finger out and accepted that fact."

To be honest, I'm not sure they need to. If the Federation didn't exist this would be a valid point, but it does, so morris dancers of all persuasions are able to be represented by either the Ring or the Federation. It's a broad church.

The thing I think was a bit of a mistake was for the Ring to speak out for all of morris, as there is a substantial body of sides whom it does not represent. IMHO, those kinds of statements could perhaps be made jointly by both the Federation and the Ring.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:27 PM

"un-watered down tradition"

These are the sides who won't watch Bampton because Bampton don't follow Sharp's notation of their dances.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM

I wonder if JK will mind having rumours spread about sleeping with Llamas !
Agreeing to be interviewed in conjunction with the Dance Mag guy shows a distinct naevety or lack of judgement. Hearing the interview would further re-inforce peoples ideas of morris as a bit of a joke.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Proogle
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM

As Someone on the Daily Mail article mentioned...Come to Straw Bear. Witness with your own eyes that more and more young people are becoming interested and are already dancing. I have been with my side 16 years. Im 18.
I guess when you are my age though and you are part of the folk/morris thing, you notice the other young people more than you would if you were not.
We have done so much to attract young people and twice have we had a very large influx of them in recent years. A majority of them have stayed.
A lot more young people are more open minded now too. And they will look to joining Morris Uni sides as a bit of exercise and then when they finish their courses go on to look at sides in their area.
Well im young. I love morris. Im in a Fed side.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 02:25 PM

10pm Today BBC National News (Hopefully) Kim Woodward in the company of the Year 5 Children of Staple Hill Primary School, Sth Glos presents a different viewpoint to the apparently old press release of the Ring Bagman Charlie Corcoran.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: jonm
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM

There are fewer young people in the morris now than there were when I was in my teens and twenties. They are now concentrated in mixed teams in the main, hence the Ring's problem being more severe than the Fed's.

The "bump" in average age has definitely moved upwards in the last 30 years since I started dancing. My guess is that in the Ring it has moved up by 30, in mixed teams by probably more than 15.

A lot of the younger dancers are members of a variety of teams, as I was back then (and still am, both Ring and Fed) so they turn up more often. They also tend to be more Internet literate.

If I think back to the two teams I was a regular with on leaving university 20 years ago, I was their youngest member then and would still be now! The same is pretty much true of the teams I dance with now, give or take my lad, who's 12.

My view is that single-sex morris is dying faster than mixed, however, it would be unwise not to recognise the Ring as the upholder of a lot of the tradition and history of the morris in terms of its archive material and membership of long-lived clubs.

Morris is long overdue for a cull, though. Too many sides who perform poorly. My generalisation would be that poor performance from a male team takes the form of too many beerguts and too little altitude; there are also a large number of mixed teams who regard a shoddy attitude to the quality of the dancing and their treatment of the audience as the norm.

Not having seen the segment yet, I shall be disappointed if the BBC regard one primary teacher with a class of nine-year-olds as a balanced argument for the future of the morris being secure, though.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Anne Lister
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 03:53 PM

Something that strikes me is that I've met quite a few men who have taken up Morris later in life - so why is there any kind of assumption that if they don't join as youngsters they won't be dancing later?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Anne Lister
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 03:54 PM

Should have added "and women too" to the first half of my first sentence!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: LesB
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:08 PM

I do hope the BBC news item from a primary school is not of the 'cheer leader' type of morris. What we need is to talk to some 'teen & twenty' active dancers.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: skipy
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:37 PM

Utter bollox! see Icknield Way Morris Men of which my son is a member, they can field a full youth side with reserves & musicians!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:14 PM

Could the general downward trend in national population have anything to do with the lack of morris dancing men?

Just a thought... niaive of me I know... but I'm a simple soul at heart.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,peterr
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:53 PM

Sadly, too many beerguts and not enough altitude is exactly true and I speak as one who has been dancing (or trying to ) for about 40 years. When I started, lots of young dancers, and lots of singing. And now lots of us are the archetypal ageing folk singer/dancer.
When I see young dancers, it's great!
But ( I paraphrase as I can't find the article ) 'The Irish, Welsh and Scots are justifiably proud of their heritage of traditional music, song and dance. The English, however, are rather embarrassed by theirs.' The original article was written before WW1, and what has changed?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Kev The Clogs
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:55 PM

HHmmmmm. Interesting!

I seem to recall that I posted a thread HERE in the middle of last year, that related to Morris numbers, attracting new blood etc. (Some very good comments and suggestions).

HOWEVER!!! As important as this is - most of the contributors to this thread so far, have missed the point of the original article/item, and that is, here we go - DO we have some form of Morris representation in the Opening/Closing ceremonies of the 20012 Olympics??? DO we stand up and say that we are proud to be carry on a tradition????? DO we stand tall with the traditions that other contries take for granted???? OR, OR, OR!!!!!! Do we just bitch about who is right or wrong/will we survive or not/Ring or Federation - "Who's The Daddy??"

The newscaster on the One O'clock News obviously found it highy funny. We need respect from the public. To get to that stage, we need to get respect for each other's chosen type of dancing from eack other FIRST!!!!

Can we please not get bogged down? Can we please try and help each other/each side/whatever, to get a slot in the games that we can be/and bloody well should be, PROUD OF!!!!

Kev The Clogs
(Northwest Clogs and Longsword)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:29 AM

Strictly Come Morris Dancing?

Celebrity guests...and off yer go...Morris Dancing becomes 'the new black'

OR..you could try a little bit of Bryony, a little bit of Eliza, a little bit of Jools Holland and

a few Dog Rose petals...

:0)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:45 AM

Hey, 'Strictly Come Rapper Dancing' is already here!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: nickp
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:00 AM

BBC web news article


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: romany man
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:28 AM

should this thread not be retitled morris ring joins the dodo, having listened to the report, im glad the fed exists


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: pavane
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:33 AM

Could we not promote it under a new name, as "Medieval high-impact Aerobic exercise dance"? That should bring a get a lot of new young health-conscious dancers.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:06 AM

You need to get the present performers onto a radical weight loss programme first then... and out of the pubs.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Jess A
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:53 AM

I'm told that Jeremy Vine will be interviewing one of Pecsaetan, Jo Maher, at lunchtime today on radio 2.

She and I are two of the more senior members of Pecsaetan these days, being in our early thirties. Most of the team are in their mid twenties and there are (I think) a couple of late teens. Being all women but with a male musician, we are in the federation. That said, we do dance quite straight 'black book' style cotswold (the black book = the morris ring published notation for most of the traditional cotswold dances).

My own take on the current media fuss is that there are enough people out there who care, and enough detailed records, for 'the morris' to be safe from dying out, in some form or another.

There's a new all male, youngish Cotswold side in Sheffield at the moment, called Five Rivers Morris. I'm looking forward to seeing them when they are ready to dance out. As far as I know they are made up of a mix of experinced dancers from other teams and absolute morris novices.

As to the Olympics - I would love nothing more than for the opening ceremony to be a big and dramatic celebration of really good traditional British dancing, but only if it was to be done really well. The Olympics is imho about showcasing athletic prowess. I'm not sure how many morris dancers would class themselves as athletic but I'd bet not many. Even in my own fairly young team, we're not as fit as we should be...


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:03 AM

I have had the privilege of dancing with two crack sides in my time : Manchester, with which I served my apprenticeship ; and Southport Swords.

My knees will not let me dance with a Side, today. It wouldn't be fair ; I haven't the stamina these days, apart from the fact of having one bionic knee and the wait for another. I content myself with teaching

Morris at the school in Northants which my grandsons attend, at the invitation of the Head Teacher. I get the chance here to play me Anglo and my taborer's pipes.

The average age of the dancers is 10 ; and the kids think that Morris is "cool".

They took to the dance ('Jockie to the Fair', Brackley tradition) like a duck takes to water. Whether any will continue to dance later with one of the many local sides in Northants remains, of course, to be

seen.

With this attitude, I don't think that the Morris (Ring, Fed or other) is likely to become extinct yet.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 09:26 AM

A common excuse for poor performance standards is that the dancers are all too old and fat. But I know plenty of 50 - 60 year olds who climb, run, mountain bike and do other sports to a fairly high standard and who are fitter than many half their age. Why should dancing be any different?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,dillie
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 09:39 AM

Hello all,

thought I would chip in - I was contacted by the Times this morning, after my friend who works there gave them my contact details...I've given them an honest account of how i view the morris to be heading...

I am 25 and female, and have been dancing since i was three but had quite the opposite view of the morris actually, while there aren't thousands of us young ones all in one place, turn up at Sidmouth, or Broadstairs, or IVFDF and the morris tradition is alive and kicking - be the young people members of the ring, open morris or Fed - or just interested in giving it a go through shooting roots, workshops etc.

I don't think we should wuite be working ourselves into a panic yet, but instead use this publicity in a positive way to encourage more young people to dance. - the mention of free beer and sarnies and fit girls normally gets my guy mates keen... :0)

I am not that bothered by men who want to dance together and only together - in fact I love to watch ;0)

Dillie xx


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,banksie
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:04 AM

The Fed members list is here:
http://www.morrisfed.org/mf/members/Alist.shtml

Haven't got time to count them myself


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Jess A
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM

Turns out Jeremy Vine didn't interview Jo after all but did talk to Simon Care and a member of London Pride. I haven't heard it yet but shall try to listen again later....


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:21 AM

The Jeremy Vine phone in was well balanced if you see it as a do we want or not type debate. Unfortunately, he found a rent a mouth journalist to put the motion that Morris has had it's day and should be discouraged etc. (Where do they get these people from?)

Lots os references to young people enjoying the sport / pastime / tradition and a 10 year old girl on the line saying she goes to practice nights at Cecil Sharpe House with her dad.

Me? Never have been "into" morris. A quick strip the widow at a ceilidh is enough for me. I was in a band for a few years and we rocked up morris tunes, mainly because our melodeon player was a morris musician.

All the same, even though I am take it or leave it, I find it beyond belief that the BBC managed to find somebody to speak in favour of killing it off!

(I was once in trouble on stage at a festival for saying it is ok between consenting adults in private. I was gagging for a pint afterwards but the bar was the usual haunt of the morris men and their big sticks...


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:47 AM

This in today's The Times

How a Scotsman can complain about "mimsy hops", when Scottish dancing consists of men in skirts prancing about on tip-toe amazes me.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:17 PM

If any of you can get ITV Thames Valley local news, Hook Eagle Morris will be on in the next 15 minutes.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:38 PM

The guy who wrote the piece in the Times is the same one who was on the Jeremy Vine show with Simon. He was a complete idiot. In both, he compares Scottish social or ceilidh dance with English display dance - it's not like with like. His parting shot to Simon on the radio was "At least we have real swords to dance with, and not little sticks."

Moron.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: steve_harris
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM

Olympics - I would love nothing more than for the opening ceremony to be a big and dramatic celebration of really good traditional British dancing, but only if it was to be done really well

This is the crux of the matter. I have a somewhat deserved reputation for disliking Morris. The truth is I like the 2% that's exciting. I'm afraid a lot of the general population are Philistines like me. They've seen Old Boring and Crap Morris dance out and they're not impressed.

Most sides seem to exist for reasons that don't seriously include entertaining the public. Now there may be merit in preserving a tradition, keeping fit and drinking some beer, just as there may be merit in gardening, cross-stitch and bee-keeping. The difference is that most gardeners, etc. get on with their hobby in private.

A friend of mine has recently been recruited into a side. They are exciting and she's a fine dancer. That is how it should be.

She is young but that's a very minor detail.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Roger Kennington
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:36 PM

I agree about the fitness thing. There are loads of 50 plus year olds doing marathon's etc. Not all morris dancers are in that category.. shuffling and flat footed a lot of them.. so many youngsters will just walk away from it.

Good to see the younger folks fighting back in this thread. Good technique and loads of attitude is what makes Morris attractive. There is some of it. We need more.

Roger Kennington


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:40 PM

Any form of dance whether ritual or social, or indeed any other variety of song- or tune-related, tradarts-based activity ought not to be performed in public until its exponents are actually good enough to dance or otherwise perform out. That would include even Magnus Linklater of The Times prancing about with his "real sword".

Simon Care was magnificent on Jeremy Vine. It's about 40' in on the replayer if you want to skip the drivel


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:11 PM

I blame Dick Miles, he started a thread on this forum,in which he tried to get people to discuss the Morris Ring,and male only morris dancing,it must have been over a year ago,and now look what has happened.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:15 PM

Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones - PM
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:47 AM

This in today's The Times

How a Scotsman can complain about "mimsy hops", when Scottish dancing consists of men in skirts prancing about on tip-toe amazes me.
Kilts,Howard.
are you trying to start a verbal Battle of Culloden.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:07 PM

Hmmm... the Earl of Stamford Morris (I'm Chief Musician) have a healthy influx of youngsters...

Until three of them went to University a couple of months ago we were able to field a junior side ranging from 12 years old to 18 years old, complete with melodeon player (15 years old).

We're a mixed Cotswold side currently dancing Lichfield, Adderbury, Badby and Stanton Harcourt traditions.

Oh, and our sticks are like pickaxe handles...!

Border Morris and Rapper seem to attract youngsters, too - I think North West Morris is struggling to find young blood, though.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:10 PM

Dick, I know what they're called. Linklater's article in the Times compares morris unfavourably with Scottish dancing. My point was that Scottish dancing could be considered equally ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:37 PM

Mr. Linklater's comments are more ignorant than he realises as Morris Dancing - or at least some form of dancing bearing that name, was known at least as early as 1501 in Scotland since the Treasury Accounts for that year record a payment " To the men that brocht in the morice dance, and to thair menstralis" (1501–2 Treas. Acc. II. 135.)

Similarly sword dancing other than highland sword dancing was known since, as well as the Papa Stour sword dance of Shetland, records survive of the Kirk supressing it post reformation - in Elgin for example.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:53 PM

Some interesting points raised here. One important point is that while Border Morris seems to be on the up, Cotswold Morris seems to be on a downward spiral, and this is the worry.

The team I dance with, the Gloucestershire Morris Men, is perhaps typical of many Cotswold Morris sides. We love our dancing and the companionship that goes with it. We are also quite proud of how we dance (check out Gloucestershire Morris Men on YouTube) but we are very conscious of the fact that we are an ageing population and that it is difficult for an team whose average age is over 50 to attract 20 year-olds. So in our case, unless something is done, the team will disband within a few years, which we would consider a great shame as we have a lot of knowledge, expertise, style and skill to pass on, especially of traditional Gloucestershire dances.

So we are trying to do something about it. We are aimng to set up some sort of younger side and so we are running various workshops, including one at the Cheltenham Folk Festival. Our policy on the gender issue is that anyone is welcome to come to the workshops, and if this leads on to the formation of a young side and the corporate wish of that side is to be mixed, then so be it. Those males who want to can still join the Gloucestershire Morris Men and females who are looking to join another side could join one of the excellent women's sides in the area. Or they could stay in the hypothetical mixed side.

We know well the merits of Morris as, when we dance abroad, we go down very well because the audiences there judge it on its merits, not through the haze of our hostile English media, and yes, they find it exciting and vigorous, so we must be doing something right.

So we hope that this recent media coverage is not just a short-lived opportunity for the media to take the piss but will lead on to some real appreciation of Morris. But the Morris world must present itself properly to the media, i.e. aim off the fact that we are getting older and greyer and emphasise the vigour and excitement of the morris with younger dancers.

Morris in the Olympic opening ceremony? - absolutely, but not ageing grey-haired men (like me!) but young fit energetic dancers - male and female.

I rest my case.

And Maurice Linklater is an absolute plonker.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:55 PM

That should read Magnus Linklater, not Maurice (Freudian slip!).


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: romany man
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:31 AM

tradition versus evolution, many young people are attracted to border as it apears more dynamic possibly, what with as in our side big sticks, flying long tatters and plenty of noise and clashing, oh and we are a mix of young and old, who try to add new dances every year, yes in the fashion of trad border but with a newer twist.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 06:27 AM

I know a number of younger dancers who dance Cotswold. Look at the competitors (and winners) in the John Gasson Jig Competition at Sidmouth for a start.

I agree that Northwest is probably the form which is most on the decline with younger dancers - it would be great to see a bit of rejuvenation there. Northwest, when danced well, can be as dynamic and exciting as other forms of morris, IMHO.

I may be digging myself a bit of a hole here, but I almost think that the popularity of certain types of morris in recent years are contributing to the decline in standards. I wouldn't dream of naming names, but some sides seem to have given a lot more thought and attention to their fabulous kit and ther facepaint than to the quality of the dancing, which can be pretty shoddy (IMHO).

The thing I find encouraging is the quality of the dancing in many of the Cotswold sides which have enjoyed an influx of younger members. As someone said earlier, "Good technique and loads of attitude is what makes Morris attractive." From what I've seen, the quality of the dancing isn't entirely down to the age of the participants (though stamina and good nees must be hugely beneficial), but to the standards of the side as a whole and how much emphasis they place on the quality of the dance. And I think the opportunity of dancing in a quality side is one thing that does attract (and keep) younger members.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:10 AM

Up till now I've kept out of this conversation, because as an ageing Morrisman I'm part of the problem - and I have no instant solution for it. However, posters so far seem to be missing an important point, so here goes.   

Trying to improve the image of Morris dancing in the mass media is probably a waste of effort. This is because the fundamental values of Morris (and of most other "folk" activities) are incompatible with the values of the media.

The media is primarily concerned with selling us things – whether goods, services or ideas. It tries to bully us into acquiring new things before the old ones wear out, by declaring that whatever we've already got has just become unfashionable.    People who refuse to renounce the unfashionable are mercilessly mocked – for the high priests of commerce, any form of traditionalism is heresy.

Most folk arts (Morris included) stay under the journalistic radar most of the time - and a good thing too. Skilful media management can occasionally give a traditional activity a sexy image for a short time. But beware - whatever (and whoever) the media builds up today, it starts knocking down tomorrow.   Keeping a low profile and relying on word-of-mouth publicity to attract recruits is a safer strategy for long term survival.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:16 AM

Spot on Mike,

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Jemm
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:20 AM


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:42 AM

Excellent ambassadors for Morris (and Folk in general) for the Olympics would be Damien Barber's 'Demon Barbers Roadshow'... very precise, energetic and full of showmanship.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Cats [cookie less]
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:45 AM

I have just come from a class of 14 /15 year olds and in the course of conversation on a piece of coursework one of the boys suggested Morris dancing as part of the essay. I gently asked him about what he meant and he said he had been in the town recently in the evening and had seen the local morris team practicising and had stood and watched them for a while, until he got too cold. He thought it was cool and would like to have a go but then added but it's a bit energetic so I might not be able to do it. I told him that it didn't have to be at first and that he would be well looked after and they would give him all the help he needed. He's now positively thinking about it and I will contact the local moris to get them to send him an invite. If it works, great, if it doesn't well at least he is interested enough to keep watching them and with any luck.....


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 08:49 AM

"Excellent ambassadors for Morris (and Folk in general) for the Olympics would be Damien Barber's 'Demon Barbers Roadshow'... very precise, energetic and full of showmanship."

The Demon Barber's Roadshow would rock the socks off many youngsters. They should be everywhere, on our TV screens and at all our major festivals, on the main stages.

They are SUPERB!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Joseph P
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 09:14 AM

Its funny how small changes within a team can make a big impact on the appearance of the dance.

I dance within a single tradition which means each dance is pretty well defined, with no scope to change (although we definitely do not follow a black book!!!). I think this is good in that it allows dancers to concentrate on improving on their dancing skill and style, as opposed to learning a load of different styles, dances etc, none of which are necessarily danced well, or trying to develop 'interesting' novelty dances that people think will woo the crowds, but might just look messy. Who knows.

The attitude of a team before each dance has a big impact. There are definitely two types of showing off, the obvious brash type which sticks out and annoys people, and then there is the quietly doing your best way, perhaps competing with the person opposite as to who can keep their line traighter, who can be lighter footed etc. If everyone is trying in this way then a team will look fantastic. If the dancers are plodding through yet another dance then that is what it will look like! You dont have to be young, you dont have to be super-fit (but it helps).

Apprenticeships within a team definitely have an impact. Marking out the newens may seem a bit harsh but it gives them something to aim for. It worked for me and within 6 months of dancing I was on the main stage at Sidmouth!

The Morris wont die, but it's popularity will wax and wane. This is only a problem for those that want to make money out of it! At the end of the day you cant force people to dance (unless you count schools!) As I have said before, teams who dwell on their dwindling numbers and have a try hard recruitment plan might not always be as successful as those who get on with the dancing, and do it well! (which is more about attitude than practise).


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Jemma Gurney
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:43 AM

I think mike is right too - This thing about "young people being too embarrassed" indicates they think morris is uncool. I think an essential part of anything being cool is for it to have an air of quite confidence - to pretend that it doesn't care whether it's cool or not. As such - jumping up and down to prove your cool-ness indicatively makes you uncool!

I morris dance primarily for sociable reasons. I love going out for the weekend with Pecsaetan - we are all similar ages, we have similar concerns, and we have a huge laugh in each other's company.

For more established sides to self perpetuate I think they need that critical mass of youngsters (at least four) such they can spark off each other and have fun on their own terms. And if they have plenty of opportunity to meet up with other teams with youngsters so much the better – watching the Great Western and Martha Roddens / Shropshire Bedlams teenagers all as high as kites together in the ceilidhs at sidmouth this blatantly proves that. Don't underestimate the power of teenage flirtation in keeping their interest in a hobby!

In addition, all the Cotswold teams I can think of with a reasonable youth contingent have relatively subtle kits, plus the standard of dancing within the team (both younger and older members alike) is above the normal, and that definitely helps. If you are taking part in a hobby that is deemed by most of the population as being the uncoolest thing on earth it's very important to be able to think – "ah, but my teams better than most of the others, and that makes it ok for me to do it" and "at least I don't look like a complete burke in my kit".

Getting that critical mass of youth in a team in the first place is, I guess, the hardest thing to do. And the only effective way this can be achieved (IMHO) is at a very grass roots level – i.e. taking friends of your kids to festivals / morris weekends. Or organising school activities, but making sure that school activity then gets and chance to go to a festival where there are other kids are at. Watching other people enjoying themselves morris dancing is going to be by far the biggest enticement into taking part yourself – whatever your age. And this can't be done through the tele – you have to be there to get the feeling of the atmosphere and the time to hang around and drink beer (when you are old enough, of course!), to talk crap and interact as well as dance.

In a similar form this is why things like shooting roots / demon barbers / folkworks youth summer schools are so successful and so important. Providing amazing tutors that can easily gain the respect of younger generations and simultaneously giving them the chance to meet friends and have a laugh is a key combination.

Hence, if I was the morris ring, I would devote my efforts into encouraging practical ways of getting younger people to morris events that are fun, or getting the 18 year olds from Great Western / Bristol to go and each the 13 year olds in some other team for a weekend etc.

For morris to become more socially acceptable it needs to increase in numbers and standards from the roots up, in a quietly confident way as a fairly underground activity. Mass media publicity is so not the way to do it.

Jems
(p.s. apologies for the length of this post – I must learn to be more consise!)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM

I suspect many of us were attracted to Morris because it was old and strange. I don't think it's as old and strange as I hopped but if lots of people do it it is bound to loose some of its strangeness.

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 10:55 AM

I don't think old and strange hopping really has a role in Morris.
In fact, it's part of the perceived problem . . .


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:02 AM

Fairenuffski, but old and strange is crucial. Although all that fertility stuff has been discredited it still can be old and strange but much is lost by endless revival sides with few roots anywhere.

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Proogle
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:13 AM

I love Morris :) all types. Except Cotswald but thats personal opinion.
As i said before im young :)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: steve_harris
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM

but some sides seem to have given a lot more thought and attention to their fabulous kit and ther facepaint than to the quality of the dancing, which can be pretty shoddy

I think this is display dance the world over. The better the kit, etc, the more pedestrian the dancing.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Ed Worrall
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:01 PM

"Endless revival sides with no roots" Well that's most of the Ring, Fed, Open and unaffiliated sides taken care of then?!

I don't think it's the number of sides that creates a problem for recruitment, simply is it a good laugh to do and what someone new would want to get involved with.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:26 PM

True enough Ed.

A thousands years ago before the war it was not uncommon to see Country Dance "Demonstration" Teams. They demonstrated social dance to whoever. I think this is a rare event now. Social dance is just that. Is Morris anything other? Sometimes I think it is - old and strange? I hope so.

I don't think anybody has started a revival Britannia Coconut Dance side. Why not, pretty well everything else has been copied? I feel the same about Mumming and Souling. Antrobus Soulcakers are truly old and strange but those other plays with David Beckham, Darth Vador and George Bush just seem silly.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:50 PM

The Guardian disagrees


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:49 PM

"I don't think anybody has started a revival Britannia Coconut Dance side. Why not, pretty well everything else has been copied?"

Because the Coco-nutters have actively tried to prevent it. They wouldn't even let Sharp notate their dances.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:32 AM

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, is their perhaps a recognition that Britannia is just too special? It would be easy enough to replicate if anybody had the nerve. Brass Monkey have recorded at least one of their tunes. So, of not Britannia why not leave Headington, Bampton, Colne Royal or Poynton Jemmers dances etc alone?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:40 AM

Jemma Gurney makes a good point about kit. Some of the older shuffler cotswold sides have atrocious kit - tabards that make them look like hotel cleaning staff etc. I wouldn't be seen dead in some of it and I'm the wrong side of young!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:52 AM

Les, it's not about "nerve", it's about respect. The Coconut Dancers are a living tradition and they don't want their dance to be done by anyone else. Fair enough. Similarly, Abingdon don't want their dances done by other sides.

Bamton and Headington dances have been part of the morris revival since Cecil Sharp's day, and to that extent are in the public domain, and the present sides seem to accept that.

Colne Royal is danced by other sides, including Chinewrde who have actually danced it in Colne. Poynton Jemmers are a revival side.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 04:08 AM

Sure enough Howard, respect is a much better word. Revival is an aspect of the living tradition of morris. Many sides collapsed and were revived through the 19C. Would Headington and Bampton have survived without Sharp? We will never Know. Are Jemmers a revival side? I cannot speak for them but I think their origins and revival are deep in that part of Cheshire. Prehaps some can tell us?

Gorton, currently "resting" have a history that goes back well into the 19C and I can see the point of the young men of Gorton reviving that tradition - it feels "old and strange". But I am not sure of the point of people in the South East creating Northwest sides or people anywhere reviving traditions where none existed.

In the end people will do what they like but will it be "old and strange"?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: davyr
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 04:19 AM

"Fair enough. Similarly, Abingdon don't want their dances done by other sides."

And neither do Chipping Camden:

http://www.chippingcampdenmorrismen.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=28


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 04:20 AM

If you want a reason why the Coco-Nutters' policy is a good one (IMHO), have a look at the dances which go by the name of Abbots Bromley Horn Dance on Youtube:

Renfairs R Us

another American side - someone has clearly been to Thaxted

...and in New Jersey, more Thaxted-stylee

And that's just a few. What do they have in common? Well, none of them bears much resemblance to what actually happens in Abbots Bromley. Most of the versions you'll see are based on Thaxted rather than Abbots Bromley itself (the folked-up version somehow being "more atmospheric" than the original?). I'm kind of glad no one has got their hands on Bacup and "improved" it.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 04:34 AM

Id go with all of that Ruth. Are most Morris sides actually Tribute sides? Perhaps they should have "Tribute" names the way "Tribute" rock bands do?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: davyr
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 05:19 AM

"Headingdowntown Morris"? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 05:36 AM

How would Chipping Camp-den dance ten?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,flapjackdavey
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 09:08 AM

I often listen to LBC the talk radio station ( sorry non London people ) and the other night was no exception . I was particularly interested as the presenter was discussing the topic raised by this thread . He took loads of calls from listeners who were of the " there are only two things in life you shouldn't try , incest and Morris Dancing " variety , and very few from people who were pro morris dancing or any kind of traditional dancing etc .Those thatwere pro that he spoke to you could tell that there was a mocking tone in his voice . I sent in a text saying that their there are plenty of places you can go to see young people dancing , Towersey festival for example , though I know that its not just Morris specifically ,but hey ! its young people furthering the tradion
.... needless to say he didn't read out my text ..... the dickhead !


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 09:29 AM

I Know just what you mean davey,

the media whoever they are are dodgy. I have generally found that if you know more than the average about something ie Morris Dancing, Folk Songs, Hiking, Beer, Climate Change, Jam Making, Sex .............. if you read something in the press or see something on the box they will get something or other wrong. So how safe are they with World Paece and Banking?

Cheers

"Tribute" Morris anybody?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Joseph P
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:08 AM

his isn't morris dancing, its just a tribute????


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:57 AM

Not entirely sure of your point there Joseph

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 11:10 AM

Two points strike me on this topic. Firstly, any decline can't have anything to do with the all male-ness of some sides. Do football cricket and rugby have a problem? No? Do they have all maleteams? Yes.
Secondly, the quote about incest refers to country dancing, not morris dancing. And, specifically, about the kind of country dancing purveyed by primary school teachers between the wars. And who could deny its validity?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Joseph P
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 11:29 AM

My point was a vague reference to the song 'tribute'

Not a point really ....


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 11:39 AM

Who indeed is safe with World Paece? Indeed what is it?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Marje
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:36 PM

Tha all-maleness of Ring sides has got to be a factor in its decline. If this were not the case, the mixed and female sides would be declining at a similar rate, and all the signs are that they're not. It is apparent that many younger men who want to take up morris prefer to join a mixed side. Young women don't have the same hang-ups about dancing as many English males do, and are happy to join either all-female or mixed sides. It's the all-male (mainly Ring) sides that are suffering most.

I'll get jumped on for saying this, but it's also highly likely that the many of the sides that include women are better run, as women tend to be better at the networking and organisation than men are. This will give them a selective advantage when it comes to getting stands, bookings etc, so they'll continue to attract more members.

As for the comparison with sports - well, team sports like football and rugby are now played by women in their own leagues. Like most sports, they're generally not played mixed, presumably on grounds of fairness and decency. But although many sports are segregated, some allow women and men to mix when it's appropriate and beneficial - women act as coxes to rowing teams, for instance. And in some sports such as tennis there are mixed and single-sex events. In informal and friendly games, there are now few barriers, and you can see mixed teams in all sorts of sports. Even that last bastion of maleness, darts, is now being played by women professionally.

In other words, sport has moved on, as has morris, but while Ring sides continue to cling to the ideas (both erroneous) that (1) women never used to dance morris and (2) this means they never should, they'll soon find themselves with only the Catholic church to support their arguments.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,boosh
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:49 PM

i'm 15 years old, and in response to the original message, would like to say with great enthusiasm that myself and several of my friends are very proud to call ourselves morris dancers!
The shortage of young dancers is probably due to the stereotypical image that most people have of morris dancing (which goes somewhere along the lines of Bells, Flowers, Hankies and bearded old men). They dont realise that most morris dancing aint like that at all, until they witness it for themselves.
However, i don't think the tradition is under threat of extinction, because i know there are loads of other young morris sides who are just as passionate as the older generation of morris dancers about keeping the tradition alive.
Vive La Morris!

xx


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:53 PM

I have a basic opposition to single gender groups. Apparently Sharp found women dancing Morris but chose not to make much of it. We still seem to have this pagan / fertility / I don't really know history to Morris that doesn't seem to be true. Am I correct in thinking the Morris Ring hang on to this more than most and use as an excuse to exclude women, unless of course the cannot get male musicians?

If sides have been doing something for a long time (100 years? 200 years?) then carrying it on makes some sense. Starting afresh? Not quite the same.

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Ed Worrall
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 02:10 PM

Hmm Les, did Gorton dance mixed?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Ed Worrall
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 02:38 PM

Just re-read your post boosh, you and your mates are the reason Morris won't die out, getting involved with it because it's fun. That's why anyone does it isn't it? I can't see that changing. More power to you all!

Marje - I'm not going to jump on you, but stereotypes from anyone don't help. It's as legitimate to dance as a Male team as it is a Female or mixed one. Surely it's a big enough world for that.

IMHO the best way to kill off Morris to waste our time arguing who is right or wrong (no-one!), rather than getting out there and dancing our socks off!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 02:45 PM

There may be an analogue here of the divide between FOLKSONG singers and snigger snogwriters - on the one hand black book dancers, and on the others the performers of new dances.

There does not seem to be as far as I can see a dance equivalent of the practice of taking a FOLK song and re-arranging it.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 02:51 PM

It's as legitimate to dance as a Male team as it is a Female or mixed one.

Well, there's a difference between "we want our Morris side to be male-only" and "we think all Morris sides should be male-only". I think most of the flak directed at the Ring relates to the second attitude, not the first one.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Ed Worrall
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:28 PM

Pip - Very true and I'd give some flak of my own to that 2nd attitude!

My point is that Male sides are one of the many forms of Morris, and their existence is not a threat to anyone elses viewpoint. We shouldn't be insecure about that, the assumpution that this argument has to be won against the Ring feels like the 1970's, I know there's a recession that feels like we're in 'Life on Mars' but haven't we moved on?!

Let's get all get out there in 2009 and show how vibrant, diverse and alive and kicking we are!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: melodeonplayer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 06:49 PM

I am member of a ring team, and as far as i am concerned we want our side to be male only! And we certainly don't think all sides should be male only. We do dance out with Womens and mixed sides. As do many ring sides up and down the country.

We have also been making up our own dances since 1972. Now danced around the world by many teams

My wife dances with a women only team ! And i couldn't join that if i wanted to.

What about a certain womens team that only allows women under a certain dress size (14) to join !!!!

Power to all teams, Female, male, mixed and other,,,,as long as they are good and entertaining!!!!

Cheers
Simon Care
Moulton Morris Men


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Kev The Clogs
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 06:54 PM

Boosh - you go for it lad!!! I glad you are proud and I would gladly have a pint with you. I don't know what tradition you folllow, but whatever it is, I hope you are still doing it in your old age. I'm from Kent, and have often said that "The Tradition" will nor die, if we can get young people like yourself to take up the banner. Just wish we could attract some new bloood to our Clog And Longsword side - HOWEVER - if that means getting new blood and themtaking us oldies (only 45 me) and developing it so that it moves on, then I'm up for it!!!

Kev


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM

Ed Worral challenges me on Gorton - fair point. I have clearly failed to explain myself and not for the first time.

Gorton, now 'resting', were revived in the 1970's by a collection of young men from Gorton. They based their dances and kit etc. on the accounts in the Gorton Historical Recorder from the 19 C. The records show Gorton to have beeen a male only side and that's what was revived in the 1970's.

I danced with them from '78 to around '83 and much enjoyed the experience with an amazing collection of people. We danced at a number of Festivals and nearly went to Russia but much more often we danced at local events and often did small pub tours on Friday nights in what were once small towns and suburbs of Manchester. Sometimes in the rain, on the pavement outside pubs and chip shops. I think that was part of the history of Gorton and it certainly made for dramatic, atmospheric experiences for people going to the chipy.

The business of collapse and revival seems to have happened to many of the sides that existed through the 19C and into the 20C. This has just as true for Gorton as it has been for famous Cotswold sides.

I used to think Morris was "old and strange" and that was why it was worth seeing. Northwest sides with their big teams, elaborate kit, sometimes brass bands are somehow straight out of the Industrial Revolution, are "old and strange" in a different way but still part of the history of working people.

People will do whatever they want and that's fine. But I am still unclear about what, for instance, mixed Border sides from the south east are reviving.

I would like to know what Simon Care thinks about "The Fluffies", the Carnival Morris of girls, quite common in the Northwest. They are clearly evolved from Northwest Morris. Should they be encouraged to join the Ring or the Federation? Will Northwest, Cotswold or Border sides be inviting them to their next day of dance?

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Motley Muso - Lisa
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM

heheheheh
Kev - I expect you've seen Simon dance and play (sometimes at the same time) at Broadstairs without even knowing it....I'm sure he won't mind me saying that he's not that much younger than you but his dancing is a bit more vigorous than Gundulph (no offence intended... you know I love em !)
here's the link to his Jeremy Vine intervew (about 42 mins in)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00gfydb


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 06:57 AM

Les, I'm a bit unclear what you're saying. From your comment about SE sides dancing Border you appear to be suggesting that sides should only be revived where there was an original tradition to draw on (as in the case of Gorton).

Given that morris appears to have once been widespread throughout the country, it seems unlikely that there weren't once traditions from the SE, unfortunately most of them haven't been recorded (although IIRC there's a dance from Herts in the Black Book). So why shouldn't new sides start up, and dance whatever they want?

If you come from an area with a recorded tradition, then it is likely (but not inevitable) that you will want to retain that local connection, but if not there is no reason not to dance whatever style takes your fancy.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 07:05 AM

"I would like to know what Simon Care thinks about "The Fluffies", the Carnival Morris of girls, quite common in the Northwest. They are clearly evolved from Northwest Morris."

IIRC, my partner, who used to dance with a Northwest side, was once dancing at an event where there was also a Carnival morris side of young girls. When the Northwest side struck up, one of the Carnival girls was heard to pipe up (cue broad Scouse accent): "Eh, they know all our dances!"


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,banksie
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 07:09 AM

Ruth wrote:
"I may be digging myself a bit of a hole here, but I almost think that the popularity of certain types of morris in recent years are contributing to the decline in standards. I wouldn't dream of naming names, but some sides seem to have given a lot more thought and attention to their fabulous kit and ther facepaint than to the quality of the dancing, which can be pretty shoddy (IMHO)."

Well, its an opinion I agree with. I'm now an ex-Cotswold dancer (after about 25 years on and off) but for a short period of time I tried a Border side (because it was mixed and my wife and I could do it together). I was introduced by the foreman as `a real morris dancer' because I could dance Cotswold, and caused much shock when I suggested a stepping workshop might be a good idea. The notion of the whole side using the same feet at the same time seemed slightly heretical :-)

They were largely interested in the tattercoat-and-facepaint bit and, to be fair, it seems that most audiences are taken with that bit as well. Which then raises an important point. Many Cotswold sides do seem to forget the aspect of putting on `a show'. It is street theatre. Those that do that bit - Great Western for example - also seem to attract more younger dancers, while The Outside Capering Crew have turned it into proper street theatre - as well as being great dancers (all of the current dancers are multiple Sidmouth Jig Contest winners, I think).

It is fair to suggest that many dancers - and it shows most with Cotswold if only because they pay the least attention to the `show' component - give the impression that dancing is a necessary evil that has to be borne between arriving at the pub and serious drinking. At best many make the mistake of dancing far too fast, so that the likes of Linklater can feel justified with the `mimsy jumps' comment.

Even though Border sides may put on the biggest show, the best of them make sure that the show is underpinned by serious levels of skill at the dancing itself. Go to a Shropshire Bedlams workshop to see how fundamentally precise they aim to be. And the Bedlams have several young dancers coming through, while Molly sides like Gog Magog and Ouse Wash are predominantly young dancers, with the most outrageous costumes and facepaints, yet their workshops show they take the dancing that underpins it very seriously.

The real trouble with this story is that The Ring has largely shot itself in the foot by bemoaning the fact that hardly any young people are interested in participate in so much that contributes to the poor perception of morris. And quite right too, why the hell should they.

Put them in front of Morris Offspring, Dog Rose Morris etc and then ask the questions.

And as an aside, I have been known (at parties and things like that, to do some disco dancing (and yes, there's the classic "Oh God, grandad's dancing" observations). But you can double step to most pop songs, and it is surprising how many young people suddenly start to join in and copy it. Maybe sides should do more dancing to pop songs (the famous `Horse' argument).


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 07:32 AM

Howard,

"Les, I'm a bit unclear what you're saying. From your comment about SE sides dancing Border you appear to be suggesting that sides should only be revived where there was an original tradition to draw on (as in the case of Gorton)."

Sorry, every time I restate my case, I generate further confusion. The thread is about the survival of Morris Dancing. I feel sure it will survive but I am not sure what some of it is. In some cases it seems to have turned into a form of outdoor badminton with music.

I think that seeing the Padstow Oss, is a bit special as is a Northwest side in a Northwest town or Cotswold side in small towns or villages. I guess we have all danced in shopping precincts but what message are we giving about The Morris when sides with no history are dancing made up dances in parts of the country with maybe a tenuous connection with that particular version of The Morris?

I think the Ring have a particular problem because they have an invented history of men only and fertlity / pre-christian nonsense that puts a lot of us off. I am not sure this puts young people of any more than anything else.

Does this matter? Not much. Can we have too much Morris? Maybe

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 08:07 AM

It is my understanding that fluffy Carnival and what we know as North West Morris evolved from the same roots but evolved separately and in different directions. Carnival is done competetively.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 08:22 AM

Interesting point Neovo, what root would that be then? Old traditions hav a habit of being passed to children when adults no longer want them, see 'The Stations of the Sun'.

My understanding was that North West or Northwest was danced by women in the 19 and early 20C and passed to the girls and has evolved through the 20C.

Perhaps others have a more cpmplete knowledge?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Gedi
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 08:25 AM

I dont have much to contribute to this argument since I know practically nothing about Morris. However I have (many years ago) seen these troops of young girls doing what seemed to me Cheerleader type dances and passing it off as Morris which I thought was something of a travesty. By all means have the dancing competitions but to me it is nothing like true Morris.

I have been truly delighted and excited when on the odd occasion I have been out in the countryside and come across a group of Morris Men doing their stuff outside the village pub. Brilliant! And long may it continue.

On a slightly differen note, apparently the PM programme on Radio 4 will be doing a feature on Morris later today, Friday, sometime between 5 and 6pm. Should be worth listening to I reckon.

Ged


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 09:27 AM

Hi Les

Yes, in the early days danced by young girls and boys (or girls dressed as boys in some troupes if no boys were available)as well as men (eg Horwich and their famous prize medal) but you're right, females were involved from the beginning. Try getting hold of Pru Boswell's books on morris in the lancashire plain.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Joseph P
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 09:27 AM

What is this black book? Some sort of bible?

discuss.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 09:34 AM

Gedi, what you are describing is the "Fluffy Morris" or "Carnival Morris" referred to in some of the posts above. I'm not sure how it came to be called "morris" but the name is of long standing. It's done by little girls rather than men in beards and I'm fairly sure pubs don't feature.

Fluffy Morris


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 09:52 AM

Les in Chorlton wrote "…what message are we giving about The Morris when sides with no history are dancing made up dances in parts of the country with maybe a tenuous connection with that particular version of The Morris?"   

It would take a book to answer your question properly Les, and I don't have time to write one just now, so please take what follows as a preliminary sketch of an answer.

What message are we giving? Well actually, several messages. Firstly, that it feels good to be alive and kicking, rather than dead or drooping. Secondly, that leaping about to the beat of a cheerful tune while tracing geometrical patterns on the pavement can be fun.   And thirdly, that whether we see this activity as the preservation of an ancient tradition or simply a piece of street theatre, it can brighten people's lives for a moment as they pass by - and for a bit longer if they hang around and watch.

What about some of the dances being "made up"?   Well, at several places where there is a particularly intimate connection between "traditional" dancers and their locality (e g Bampton, Abbot's Bromley, or Padstow) records show that over the years performers have "made up" significant changes to what they do.   Why not? It's the locals who own the dances, not the folk-lore scholars. And as St Paul said to the Corinthians "the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life" (2nd epistle, ch3, v 6)

What about dances that have no direct "connection" to the places where they are now performed? Well, can we really be certain there is no connection? We have only fragmentary records of the dances our ancestors used to perform. Some have been preserved more or less intact, but there is good evidence for the existence of others whose details went unrecorded, and it seems reasonable to infer that many more have been entirely forgotten.
   
It's true that by the time academic folklorists began studying them, specific styles of dancing did appear to be rooted in particular regions. But we can be reasonably sure that most "traditional" dances weren't created from scratch in the places where they were eventually collected. On the contrary, the surviving evidence strongly suggests that Morris dancing was imported into England sometime before 1450, probably as a metropolitan novelty. Over the next few centuries, it spread outwards geographically and downwards socially, changing its form to suit local tastes and circumstances. But the details of who did what, where and when remain conjectural.   

In the midst of all this scholarly uncertainty, why spend so much time and energy arguing inconclusively about authenticity? Leave that to scholars who are too old and stiff to dance themselves. While we're still fit enough, let's get on with the dance, do it as well as we can, and pass it on to others who show an interest.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:11 AM

Les said "whether we see this activity as the preservation of an ancient tradition or simply a piece of street theatre"

Why does it have to be either/or !!!!!

i see it as both!!!

Simon


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Joseph P
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:16 AM

But the arguing is too much fun. Round these parts the politics is much a part of the Morris as the dancing and has been for many years, long may this continue, and long may we disagree!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: AggieD
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:11 AM

Been following this thread with interest as I've been involved with Morris for very many years as a dancer & now musician.

I see a very mixed bag when it comes to the death of sides. Yes there does seem a great reluctance of some young men to join established all male sides, no matter how good the established dancers are, but if those dancers shall we say look obviously rather mature in years, despite being very good dancers, then there seems to be an unwillingness for younger men to join, and if they do join then they often can't always participate because of work or family commitments, which is happening to one of our local mens teams. They have always worked towards excellence in their dancing & give very good displays of Morris, but even if they have got younger men to join then can't keep them interested enough to want to stay.

However it doesn't seem to be quite such a problem with womens and mixed teams.

Could one of the reasons be that with younger people who may have familes the womens & mixed teams are more family orientated? We actively encourage children to come along when we dance out & if they show any slight inclination musically, then we shove something into their hands that they can beat or shake & teach them about rhythm of the dancing & start trying to get them interested. Possibly by Ring sides excluding women generally (I know lots of teams do belong to the Ring & allow women musicians), then they are stopping younger people with families participating? After all how many young women these days only want to be allowed to do the tea after the day of dance from which they have been excluded from joining in?

Also as women we tend to go along to dance at places where families can be taken & will find something to do. We don't exclude partners who don't dance, but actively try to find some venues where they can find something to do, and if the partners don't come along then the younger women know that there will always be someone to keep an eye out for the kids while Mum dances. Possibly men aren't going to do this if their main aim is to only get enough dancing done to justify diving into the pub?

And I think that the kit we wear is important. As a side we have always tried to keep relatively up to date & not wear anything that is too embarrasing to be seen in public when you're not with your team. Personally never worried me, but it does some people.

I think we as perfomers have to put on the show to entertain the public, so we make sure that we are well rehearsed when we do anything more formal than a one-man-&-his-dog pub locally. I have crawled with embarrassment at some teams that amble on to a stand with four people then spend the next few minutes trying to get 2 more dancers, then shift around because one doesn't know how to do the dance from that spot. Again just about OK down the local with no-one to watch you, but certainly not in front of crowds of people in town centres, which is what gives us the buffoon image for people to laugh at & justifies the public image of Morris in this country.

JosephP the black book is a 'A Handbook of Morris Dances' by Lionel Bacon


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: AggieD
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:18 AM

Sorry JosephP I thought you were asking a genuine question rather than opening a debate about Morris politics, something that I would rather keep out of. I'm afraid I'd rather participate than discuss the theory.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Joseph P
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:24 AM

"then shift around because one doesn't know how to do the dance from that spot..."

That really annoys me. It often happens in my team, with people liking certain positions in the set. Not learning them all is just lazy, its not difficult!

How can you put dances into written form? Thats just crazy.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:42 AM

Neovo,

"Try getting hold of Pru Boswell's books on morris in the lancashire plain."

Thanks, I have it and a number of others.

Howard and the Fluffies:

"I'm not sure how it came to be called "morris" but the name is of long standing."
It was passed on via mothers, grandmothers and so on. It has changed almost out of all recognition but it evolved from Morris Dancing and they have every right to call it what they like - although quite a lot don't.

Simon:

"Les said "whether we see this activity as the preservation of an ancient tradition or simply a piece of street theatre"

I don't think I did.

Mike,

whilst I agree with much of what you have said

"Well, can we really be certain there is no connection? We have only fragmentary records of the dances our ancestors used to perform. Some have been preserved more or less intact, but there is good evidence for the existence of others whose details went unrecorded, and it seems reasonable to infer that many more have been entirely forgotten."

This is what people say when they want to believe something for which they have no evidence.

If you want to make up dances I think you have to embrace the Fluffies because they are part of a tradition that is at least as reputable as most "revival" sides of men.

Is Simon Care off organising a Fluffy Festival?

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:47 AM

Enter Maurice!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Marje
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 01:26 PM

"How can you put dances in a written form? That's crazy!" (Joseph P)

You can do it by all sorts of methods. The method used in Bacon's Black Book is a sort of code that makes the dances read like a bit a knitting pattern - of course it doesn't convey the entire effect, but then neither does the text of a knitting pattern indicate the flow and feel of the finished garment.

What's wrong with using some sort of notation or code to note down the main points of the dance? For instance, how many dancers? How many bars after the music starts before the first step? Left or right foot to start? Which way to face? Single or double steps, and how many of them? Which way to turn? At what point do the "slows" come in? etc etc. All this will not give you the full effect of the dance but at least it's a foundation on which dancers and their teachers can begin to learn and recall new dances.

Of course, if morris, or any dance form from ballet to breakdance, was completely extinct and a future generation attempted to revive it, books wouldn't help them even to come close, they'd need (ideally) archive film/video footage to begin to get a feel for it. But that's not the case, people do know how morris looks and feels - the notation is just a way of remembering, recording and sharing the basic patterns on which the dances are built.


Marje


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 01:33 PM

I believe that there is a written form of notation for ballet.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Marje
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 01:49 PM

Yes, Richard, I once asked a ballet dancer about this and she said there's a sort of choreographic notation that combines the musical staff with the outline of a human figure, showing the movements in relation to the tune. Or something.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: romany man
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM

sounds like trying to learn the bloody melodeon, im sure its the devils invention but i love it only wish i could play the bloody thing better.
i cant read music let alone ballet notation, the other half understands it she says there are many forms of choriagraphic notation for many styles of dance, so i suppose morris could be writeten up. then why, its more fun seeing other peoples interpretation of the same dance,


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 03:10 AM

Hi Les,

Earlier on, I said:

"We have only fragmentary records of the dances our ancestors used to perform. Some have been preserved more or less intact, but there is good evidence for the existence of others whose details went unrecorded, and it seems reasonable to infer that many more have been entirely forgotten."

And you replied: "This is what people say when they want to believe something for which they have no evidence."

Well yes … sometimes … but in this case, I think not.

See for example, Russell Wortley & Michael Dawney, "George Butterworth's Diary of Morris Dance Hunting", Folk Music Journal, Volume 3 Number 3 (1977). GB's diary reveals his frustration at visiting quite a few villages where there had certainly been a thriving Morris side twenty years ago, but finding that no survivors of the team remained to give him details of the dances. (Though in a number of cases, he did get some tunes.) Sharp also collected a considerable number of tunes for dances which had been forgotten – some of them can be heard on the CD "Lost Morris" (Lark Rise Music, LACR8).

So, it seems clear that a lot of material was lost. How much was lost, and whether what survived was typical or exceptional, we cannot know for sure. But it would be rash to assume that what we have tells the whole story.   

Under these circumstances, I think we should be very grateful to people who have attempt to reconstruct lost dances from the remaining fragments (for example, John Kirkpatrick and the Shropshire Bedlams). And I don't think we should be sniffy about the teams who have created new dances in what they sincerely believe to be the spirit of the tradition (like Ouse Washes Molly, and many others).   

If these dances feel good, then dancers will keep on doing them. And if they look good, then punters will keep on enjoying them. If not, then they will soon fade away. Natural selection and all that - happy 200th birthday Charles Darwin!

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 04:48 AM

I don't think we should be sniffy about the teams who have created new dances in what they sincerely believe to be the spirit of the tradition

I think that's the nub of the crux of the biscuit. I'm not going to go so far as to say that we should be sniffy about teams who have created new dances, etc. Apart from anything else, I personally have never danced a step, & have no right to get sniffy about anyone in this context.

But I do think that anyone who's involved in continuing actual traditions does have a right to get sniffy about people who make up things and call them traditional, or in-the-tradition, or in-what-the-tradition-would-be-if-it-had-survived-probably.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 04:56 AM

I too have no right to get sniffy about newly choreographed v traditional dance, and I'm not. However, take a side such as Morris Offspring (for whom I do not speak but have watched many times). They make up lots of dances, based loosely on traditional steps and moves but they don't pass them off as traditional. I believe (and one of them can come along and correct me if I'm wrong) that they regard what they do as a "continuing tradition". It's Cotswold, usually sans bells, and sometimes with T-shirts instead of whites. And it's very, very good.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: LesB
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:04 AM

In the Southport Swords we do 11 Sword dances of which 4 we have created ourselves. We don't pass them off as traditional. In fact we are proud of our dances & like to take full credit for creating them.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:04 AM

Mike I think, again, that I agree with almost everything you say but if the justification for any revival side anywhere is that "well Morris was danced in some places so it was probably danced in lots and lots of places" is not a very convincing argument.

You said earlier "On the contrary, the surviving evidence strongly suggests that Morris dancing was imported into England sometime before 1450, probably as a metropolitan novelty."

I read this or something like it in 'The Stations of the Sun' and I think the idea that Morris escaped into the countryside and has been kept alive by small groups of people amazing and on those grounds alone worth continuing even if it was boring - which I think it almost never is. But I still come back to my personal definition of "old and strange". Some sides and some events are and many revival sides are not.

Cheers

Les
PS I am sorry I have not responded to a number of people above who have made many excellent points about why women's and mixed sides seem to be doing well - I am sure they are basically right.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:00 AM

Morris has always evolved and reinvented itself - which is why there are so many local variants even within for example the Cotswold region. The 19th Century sides enthusiastically adopted tunes from both music hall and Minstrel shows - the pop songs of the day. They also adopted modern instruments such as melodeon and concertina, just as earlier morris musicians had adopted the fiddle instead of the pipe and tabor.

It is wrong to assume that the dances collected by Sharp and the others are the definitive versions. They are simply versions from a particular moment in time, in places where there was still an ongoing tradition, and where a collector happened to come along. Quite apart from historical records of morris in other areas, it does not seem fanciful to me to believe that morris had existed in other parts of the country, but died out before the collectors could record the dances.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:16 AM

Fair enough Howard, I don't think most people would disagree with most of that but Rapper and Longsword are more than a bit North and North East, Northwest is pretty well Northwest and I guess Border is Border.

I will simply say again if people want to create Rapper sides in say Cornwall they can but it won't be local, it isn't a revival and it wont be "old and strange". I guess Cornwall has enough "old and strange" without using stuff from other parts of the country.

Their is often a line taken by dancers that they know something special because they dance and that academics are closed minded pedantists. In fact their very very few academics and thousands of dancers who say anything they like with almost no evidence whatsoever.

I note that no one is interested in the relationship between Men who Dance the Morris and the Fluffies of Carnival Morris. Plenty of history and evidence their!

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: steve_harris
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:22 AM

What about dances that have no direct "connection" to the places where they are now performed? Well, can we really be certain there is no connection?

Dance is the most travelled and infectious of the folk arts. It is unimpeded by language barriers. In reality, it is a mongrel. Most discussions about origins of a dance are fruitless. Is it not better to dance a Polska than try to trace it's origins?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:45 AM

True enough Steve, their is a great piece of research showing how Morris traveled across Cheshire and into Lancashire from Crewe, railways being the root of travel.

But surely the Morris community, if it exists, cannot have it both ways. Can it be local - Border, Cotswold, Northwest, Rapper, Molly and all over the place?

Has Simon organised that Fluffy meets the Ring festival yet?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 09:52 AM

Les, you ask:

"But surely the Morris community, if it exists, cannot have it both ways. Can it be local - Border, Cotswold, Northwest, Rapper, Molly and all over the place?"

And I think the answer is "yes, it can" – for the same reason that we can be members of a global village while we're surfing the internet, and yet still reconnect with our local community when we visit the corner shop.

Of course there is something very special about seeing Headington dances performed by Headington men, in Headington – just as there is something very special about drinking Burgundy wine in the Duchy of Burgundy, or Scotch whisky in Scotland. (And long may all such activities flourish on their native soil.) But if we always had to travel to Avignon for a glass of Chateauneuf du Pape, or to Portree for a dram of Talisker, this would seriously diminish our opportunities for enjoyment.

And incidentally, when I last watched the authentic Headington men dancing outside the authentic Mason's Arms on one authentic Boxing Day, a few years back, they were dancing rapper! Rapper! I rest my case M'lud.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 09:58 AM

if people want to create Rapper sides in say Cornwall . . .

Create? Could be a genuine revival. There are, after all, tin mines.
Is there any trace of rapper in Kent?
Betteshanger Rapper has a certain ring to it . . .


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 10:48 AM

Mike,

"
And incidentally, when I last watched the authentic Headington men dancing outside the authentic Mason's Arms on one authentic Boxing Day, a few years back, they were dancing rapper! Rapper! I rest my case M'lud."

So do I

I don't think anybody has ever argued that everything might have been danced everywhere, in fact very much the opposite. And just as wines don't always travel well, I still maintain that Northwest in cobbles and terraces has much greater drama than Northwest in the Shopping Malls of Essex.

Diane you surprise me, that's all I'm saying because I think your might just be baiting people!

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM

I'd have said that rapper is "old and strange" whether it's danced in the North East or elsewhere.

The simple fact is that we have just a handful of sides who are part of an ongoing tradition. We're lucky to still have them, and they're undoubtedly something special, but left to them alone morris would barely exist, and may well have died out completely by now. It was the morris revival of the 20th Century which revitalised morris, and without it who knows whether the traditional sides would have been able to sustain themselves into the 21st Century?

A revival side is a revival side, and it makes no difference whether it happens to be in an area which once had a recorded morris tradition or not. They are invariably starting something new, whether they are taking known styles from other places, or cobbling together a re-interpretation of their own area's former tradition from whatever scraps they can find.

Morris is undoubtedly "strange". If you insist on it being "old" as well you're refusing to allow any development of the tradition, instead it must be preserved in aspic at a particular (and fairly random) point in time.

Morris today is not what it was 50 or 100 years ago. But the morris of 100 years ago was not what it had been 100 years before that. This is what a living tradition means - it develops and changes, ebbs and flows. You may not like some of the changes, but without them the morris would surely die.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:11 AM

I have to say Howard that is the best and most compelling post I have read on this thread.

On issues like this their is often a tendency, which I believe has a name, to push the other argument to some kind of extreme to show its consequences. I don't think you have done that in this case but perhaps my age is catching up with me and I am actually arguing that more is worse. That doesn't have to be true but it can be.

I am all for the "Living Tradition" and have argued at some length against "Blacking up" because it is offensive and almost certainly owes more to, and I use the phrase carefully, the "Nigger Minstrel" tradition that much else, but the living tradition of Border Morris by and large wont even go green with the collection of dances and clobber that they have evolved from somewhere.

But I digress. I guess the world can never be as "old and strange" as it was and neither will the Morris.

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:35 AM

I am asking whether there is a dance tradition attached to Cornish tin mining. Or, indeed, to Kent coal mining.
If you don't know, I suggest you stick your head down those treacle mines.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM

Diane,

I rather suspect, given your experience of such things that you know that no such traditions have been noted, am I correct?

Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:55 AM

I have absolutely no experience of tin mining in Cornwall, nor of coal mining in Kent. Indeed at the time of the first miners' strike I thought it was a wind-up when someone said there was a pit at Betteshanger,
So if anyone actually knows what dance traditions, if any, pertain to these industries, I'd like to know, minus smartarse comments.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM

Pot, kettle.

Kettle, pot.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 12:17 PM

Since you live in Kent, Richard Bridge, it might have penetrated your consciousness whether anything vaguely cultural (especially dance) ever happens in the coalfield region. If not, then I see no reason why a revival rapper side couldn't be founded anyway if dancers wanted to. At DERT, there are sides from all over, just as Morris Offspring recruits Cotswold dancers countrywide. Travel and communication, in case you haven't noticed, are considerably swifter than in the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: squeezebox-kc
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 12:50 PM

regarding making up dances Kirkburton Rapier had to as the old lady of 90 years old from the village in 1973 remembered the kit and the swords but not the actual dance other than that the only time the circle was broken was at the lock at the end of the dance and it was danced with blacked faces on New Years Day.
We are proud that our dances copied by other teams, it is nice if it is acknowledged( we do workshops at festivals on occasions) and exactly how long does a dance need to be performed to be traditional. As it happens this is a male side with some female musicians and a fair age spread over the team members.
no problem with female sword teams but mixed is sometimes a bit odd looking.
In the same vein Bradshaw mummers (also blacked up)write most of their plays in the idiom of the tradition usually within reason ish historically accurate but still a male tradition (who would play the betsy in a female team)but some of the plays are written by the female supporters.
at the end of the day keep the tradition alive and find a team you fit in with otherwise form one that suits you.
Ken sword & mummer (old)


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 04:52 PM

Irrelevant, Diane. The point was "smartarse comments". Shall we have it again without those?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:19 PM

So, like Manuel, you "know nothing".
Why am I not surprised?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:23 PM

Deja vu?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:40 PM

Black Swan Rapper come from an area not particularly noted for its mining tradition(Yes I know Selby coalfield, but that, though now dead, is of recent origin). Are they any good?

(Tongue not so much in cheek, as half way down my throat. Honest!)

Love and fishes.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM

I don't see anything ridiculous in somebody asking whether rapper might have got down to Cornwall or Kent during the 19th century. Apparently it didn't, but nevertheless, it could have done.

In A L Rowse's book "A Cornish Childhood", he recalls that many young men left his area to work in mines as far afield as South Africa, Australia, and America, and adds that some of the lucky ones came home with enough cash to retire on. So, while the mines of Durham and Northumberland were booming in the mid-19th century, a "Cousin Jack" might have gone up north for a while, learned a sword dance there, and brought it back with him. It's unlikely, but not impossible.   

Likewise, one of the many Geordie pitmen who went looking for work down south might have ended up on the Kentish coalfield and taught some of his new marras how to dance rapper. Unliklier things than that have happened - like a sword dance turning up on Papa Stour for instance.

Asking questions that go against the grain of received opinion is often the way that new discoveries are made. If our ancestors had always been happy to accept the official wisdom of their day without challenging it, we might still be living in the stone age.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: LesB
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 06:55 PM

Dorset Buttons dance rapper. Not exactly next door to Newcastle is it?
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 05:12 PM

...and I dance Rapper in Edinburgh just as Gaorsach do, brilliantly, in Aberdeen.

Re Cornwall, I have a memory of reading that there was a mummers play recorded which featured an element of sword dance. No doubt there will be someone here who can either correct my memory or elucidate further.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 07:56 PM

At least the thread has been extended to Scotland. I haven't spotted any mention yet of Perth (Aus not Scotland) Morris, Bahrein Morris, Black Joke (Mass) Morris....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 08:20 AM

Made up dances and dancing "out of location" - absolutely fine provided the proper attributions are made. eg "this is a dance we wrote in the style of" .... or "our dances come from ...."


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: doncatterall
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 08:48 AM

Ian

I thought that rapper had died out north of the border since the demise of Clydeside - do tell me more!

Don


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 09:44 AM

Some random comments from what I (Cotswold dancer, and without false modesty, a bloody good one for 20 years until I retired) have read so far:

Morris will not die, the English tradition is danced all over the world;

The Morris Ring might well die, not least for their intransigence regarding women but also because any young dancers they recruit are immediately taught to dance like old men - I joined a well established Ring side when in London in 1979, the average age was about 55 and I was the youngest at 25. At practice, I was taken aside by the foreman and told that I was dancing too energetically and that "you cannot dance like that all day, you will be exhausted". I replied to the effect that yes I could dance like that all day but he and his pals probably could not.

Dancers should dance for their own enjoyment first, if they cannot enjoy it no one watching will;

Morris is neither old nor strange - all this talk of pagan ritual is bollocks. Cotswold is probably no older than late 18th or early 19th century.

All dances are made up - some made up earlier than others.

Location is irrelevant - enjoyment and performance is all.

There are very few people who care about "The Tradition" and those who make a big deal of it should be avoided.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: robomatic
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 10:00 AM

This topic came up on the radio show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" last week. Their no-brains solution:

1) Add rap
2) Carry bigger sticks


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: melodeonplayer
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 06:41 PM

Diane said "I am asking whether there is a dance tradition attached to Cornish tin mining"
I might be totally off the mark, but i had heard that the Bacup Coconutters have some family links to Cornish Tin Miners......
Not sure,, but worth investigation
Simon


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 06:49 PM

Unfortunately, there is no real evidence to connect Bacup to Cornwall.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 06:52 PM

That would be prior to the construction of the M6 / M5 . . . ?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: johnadams
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 05:55 AM

There are links between Derbyshire and Cornwall because of the interchange of skills and manpower of the lead and tin mining industries. Possibly as a consequence of this there seems to be some similarities with the tunes eg. Tideswell Processional & the Floral Dance. These are, of course, processionals rather than dance traditions. Some research to be done there.

Never heard of a similar link between Bacup/Rossendale and Cornwall.


I've not read every post on this thread. Had anybody pointed out Elaine Bradtke's excellent article which appears on the Guardian web site?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/jan/07/morris-dancing-longsword


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: BB
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 03:19 PM

I seem to remember that there was a theory that the Bacup dances might have originated with Cornish miners who moved up that way to work, but unless I'm much mistaken, the dances actually originated in the Music Halls. (Haven't read the learned writings on Bacup for a while.)

I also remember that Bell's 'Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry' mentions 'sword' dancing with wooden lathes in Devon - seemed to be similar to longsword.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Compton
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 07:17 PM

For waht it's worth, the three times I've been to Bacup and seen the dance, I am tempted to believe that it was simply some Northern Mill workers who got together and made the whole thing up and went out for Beer money...which, of course is what Morris dancing and everything was was all about!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 05:49 AM

Regarding a possible Bacup-Cornwall connection: what follows is only hearsay plus speculation, but for what it's worth …

A few years ago, when his side and mine happened to be dancing at the same festival, I asked one of the Bacup dancers about the origin of their kit. He said they believed the general idea for it had come from Cornwall, by way of a Bacup man who saw someone dressed as a "Moorish Pirate" in a carnival procession down there, sometime in the 19th century.

This story might repay further investigation. There is plenty of historical evidence that during the Middle Ages (and even on into the 1500s and 1600s) Cornish fishing villages were often raided by Moorish pirates. These corsairs carried off anyone they could catch, and if their relatives couldn't afford a ransom, the captives were sold in the slave markets of North Africa.

So, it would be understandable if a "Moorish Pirate" had appeared alongside other costumed figures in a 19th century Cornish carnival procession. And if someone from Bacup had been there to see, why shouldn't they have taken the idea home with them? As yet I've seen nothing in print to support this hypothesis – but perhaps better informed catters may have. Any suggestions?

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Kampervan
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:22 AM

I haven't read the whole of this thread in detail, but has anyone mentioned this film?


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: Kampervan
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:24 AM

Sorry, there was supposed to be a link to

'Morris - A life with bells on'

oon that last posting.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: treewind
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:51 AM

Well...

Is it dead yet?

A.


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Subject: RE: Morris joins the Dodo?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:29 AM

you need the http:// to make it work


Sal


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